If you’ve started to catch on to the organic food craze, you may have heard about organic wine. Organic wine is created from grapes that are grown by the principles of organic farming, which excludes the use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and chemical fertilizers. The wine-making technique and certification are also an essential part of creating organic wine.
Winemaking Technique and Sulfites
Wineries that specialize in making organic wine use a technique that allows for little to no manipulation of the wine. Most also prefer to use wild yeasts for fermentation purposes. Other guidelines vary by location. For example, the United States is one of the only countries where wines that are labeled “organic” are not allowed to contain added sulfites. However, this is not the case in most other wine-making places like Europe. Those wines are allowed to contain up to 100 ppm of added sulfites to still be considered organic, given that they are organically grown.
Some winemakers prefer adding small quantities of sulfites to stabilize the wine, while others in the industry completely avoid the use. Because there is some debate as to how “sulfite-free” wine can actually be, it’s important to note that this refers to the winery not adding sulfites, not the sulfites produced as a byproduct of fermentation.
Different nations have a variety of certification criteria. Generally when the term “organic” is printed on the label it means the wine has met certain government agency standards. This is not to be confused with “eco-friendly” or “green” labels, which aren’t legally defined terms.
Since each nation has their own specific criteria for certification, what’s considered organic could range from one country to another. There are some wineries that technically are organic; however, for various reasons, they choose not to be certified.
Organic Wines to Try
- 2012 Sokol Blosser Pinot Gris – This medium-bodied organic wine has notes of lemon zest, white peach, wildflowers, honey, green apple and grapefruit. It has a nice finish with an herbal kick.
- 2010 BioKult Rosé – This Austrian organic wine is certified organic by the Austrian Bio Garantie and the USDA. It is a dry rosé with notes of melon, kiwi and tart strawberry with a subtle minerality.
- 2010 Auriga Wine Cellars Sangiovese – This organic California wine is created in the Sierra Foothills region. The wine is often described as reminiscent of Tuscany’s famed Chianti. It has supple tannins, notes of strawberry and raspberry along with floral aromas.
As the organic food and wine movement grows increasingly popular, many consumers find themselves searching for suitable wine to pair with their favorite dishes. Winemakers are noticing the increased demand for organic wines and are considering producing and creating more for the public. Adhering to the region’s organic standards and a keen sense of creating delicious organic wine is the focus for a growing number of wineries today.